Hesperian Health Guides
Chapter 6: Examination and Diagnosis
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Whenever you do an examination, remember to examine the mouth.
You can prevent much suffering and serious sickness when you notice and treat problems early. Whenever you hold a health clinic, try to find out how healthy each person’s mouth is.
Ask if she is having a problem now, or has had a problem recently.
Always write down what you find out, so you remember what treatment that person needs.
Are the teeth healthy? Look for:
1. A New
ToothTell the person what is happening and how to keep the skin around a new tooth healthy.2. Black
SpotsThey may be cavities which should be filled when they are still small.3. A Loose
ToothTell the person what is happening and how to prevent a loose tooth from getting worse or affecting other teeth.4. A Dark
Are the gums healthy?
Look at and compare the pictures of healthy and unhealthy gums.
Unhealthy gums often are red and they bleed when you touch them.
A bubble on the gums below the tooth is a clear sign that the person has an abscess. The abscess may be from the tooth, or it may be from the gums. To decide, look carefully at both the tooth and the gum around it. A bubble beside a healthy tooth is a sign of infected gums. Scale the tooth carefully. See Chapter 8. A bubble beside a decayed tooth is a sign of a tooth abscess. A sore on the gums from a badly decayed tooth appears when a gum bubble breaks open and lets out the pus from inside. GUM BUBBLE
Are there any sores?
Look for sores under the smooth skin on the inside of the lips and cheeks. Look also under the tongue and along its sides.
|1. A sore on the gums may be from an infected tooth.||2. Sores on the inside of the lip or cheek may be from a virus.||3. Sores on the lips or tongue may be cancer.|
After your examination, tell the person what you have found. If you notice a problem starting, explain what to do to prevent it from getting worse. If there are no problems and the mouth is healthy, congratulate the person.
Share your knowledge — explain things to people. Help them learn how they can prevent and even manage their own problems with their teeth.